Title: Battle Ground (Dresden Files, #17)
Author: Jim Butcher
Publication date: September 29, 2020
Length: 432 pages
Genre: Urban fantasy
THINGS ARE ABOUT TO GET SERIOUS FOR HARRY DRESDEN, CHICAGO’S ONLY PROFESSIONAL WIZARD, in the next entry in the #1 New York Times bestselling Dresden Files.
Harry has faced terrible odds before. He has a long history of fighting enemies above his weight class. The Red Court of vampires. The fallen angels of the Order of the Blackened Denarius. The Outsiders.
But this time it’s different. A being more powerful and dangerous on an order of magnitude beyond what the world has seen in a millennium is coming. And she’s bringing an army. The Last Titan has declared war on the city of Chicago, and has come to subjugate humanity, obliterating any who stand in her way.
Harry’s mission is simple but impossible: Save the city by killing a Titan. And the attempt will change Harry’s life, Chicago, and the mortal world forever.
Considering I’m up to volume 17 in the Dresden Files series, it’s safe to say that I’m a fan. And yet, I can’t give Battle Ground more than 2.5 stars.
Battle Ground is basically part two of the story begun in Peace Talks, the 16th book, published just three months earlier. I guess if they’d been combined, it would have made for one super massive book, so the publisher decided to break it in two — there’s really no other reason I can think of for not telling the entire story in one volume (and might have been a good opportunity to cut out some of the endless battle scenes…)
As you’d guess from the title, Battle Ground is all about a massive battle that threatens the destruction of Chicago, and from there, all of humankind. Our hero, Harry Dresden, charges in on the side of good alongside every ally he’s ever made, plus some former/future adversaries who’ve declared a truce for now in order to attempt to defeat the even worse bad guys.
Zzzzz…. oh, sorry, my eyes keep glazing over when I think about what a slog this book was.
If you like big, booming battles with lots of firepower, explosions, magical energy, and devastation of a major metropolis, you’ll probably love Battle Ground. As for me, a book that’s basically one long, extended battle for at least 80% of its length does not make for great reading.
I read the Dresden books for the characters, the escapades, the life-or-death struggles… but not never-ending action sequences where it’s almost impossible to tell who’s who or what awful creature has which awful powers, to be brought down by which even more awful weaponry. Sorry, but chapter after chapter after chapter of Harry throwing his power around, being outmatched, and then somehow soldiering on just doesn’t make for great reading.
There are some significant developments, including a major, heart-breaking loss, as well as the groundwork for what will likely be significant changes to come. And hey, 17 books in, of course I’ll keep going with the series. This particular book, though, just was not a stellar read for me.
Still, even though few and far between, there are still some great bits of Harry being a wise-ass that snapped me back to life in the midst of the more tedious firepower and spell-slinging, so I’ll close by sharing a few choice bits:
Then he made a fist and, carefully, bumped knuckles with me. The shock of it threatened to dislocate my shoulder again, but being all manly I didn’t make any high-pitched noises or anything. And you can’t prove otherwise.
“We didn’t see them until they got there! The foe has sneakily snucked a sneak attack behind our lines, like a sneaky sneak!”
I spun back to the enemy, brought my shield up—and stood tall. “You!” I said, relishing the moment. “Shall not! Pass!”
I’d never been in an epic mythology fight quite this epic before.
Don’t care how Titanic you are. No one expects an orbital-drop grizzly.
10 thoughts on “Quick Take: Battle Ground (Dresden Files, #17) by Jim Butcher”
I actually loved this and gave it 5 stars, but I can understand why the non-stop battles would put some readers off. Hopefully it won’t be another six years before we see the next book.
Oh god, I hope not! I really do want to know what happens next, before I forget everything that’s already happened. (Heading back to your blog to read your review now…)
Now you know me, battles are not my shtick and yeah ok, there was kind of an apocalyptic amount of them but I feel like for the point of the story we are in, there isn’t really much character developments left and it’s all a slow bridge to the final battle. I missed his writing so much that even heartbreak and betrayals aside, I still very much enjoyed it. More than Peace Talks to be honest.
See, I was the opposite — I like the politics and maneuvering among powerful entities more than the actual battles. Which is weird, because I do enjoy a good action sequence — just not this many, I guess. I do want to see where the story goes next and what’s left for Dresden. What, 3 more books planned?
Oh true that. I was pretty satisfied with the ending manipulations, definitely didn’t see it coming. I think I missed Harry’s voice so much that I was there even for battles. I believe there are either 3 or 5 planned? I believe some kind of a bridge story and then the final trilogy. I don’t think it’ll be another 6 years though 🙂
PS. I still have no idea who Mac is.
Ha, still secrets to be revealed! And I really just want Thomas to be okay.
I just got around to reading both “Peace Talks” and “Battle Ground” now (June 2021). I thought the references about Mac was obvious but I could be wrong. There was a reference that he was an “observer” and another he could not participate in the events, that he was doomed to only watch the innocent be unjustly killed. Those references were spread out between cold days, skin game, and peace talks. The final reference was the one that hit home. He recognized and nailed the sign that said “King of the Jews” on the pillar again. Must be his punishment for standing by and washing his hands of the situation 2000 years earlier when he allowed the innocent man die on the cross and let the criminal go.
I’m not big on non stop battle scenes either. I’ve slogged through my share of books like that so I totally get it!
I don’t mind them usually — but the battle is the entire book, and that was just way too much for me!